I can't believe I am writing this but the college football season is officially over. No more bowl games, no more polls, no more BCS BS, no more ESPN hype. Basketball season can now take center stage.
BON has provided basketball analysis and predictions for the last two months, but for those of you who haven't been paying attention, a quick review. The Texas men are ranked 11-2 and ranked #15 in the AP poll and #16 in the Coaches Poll. We already have three wins over ranked opponents: West Virginia, Iowa, and Memphis. Both our losses were in blowouts to #1 Duke in NYC and to Tennessee in Austin. We were picked as the Big 12 pre-season favorites and were picked by many pundits to make the Final Four and / or win the national championship. I firmly believe, even after the two horrific blowouts, that the Horns have a very good shot of making the Final Four.
We have three legitimate NBA players in our staring lineup with Lamarcus Aldridge, Daniel Gibson, and PJ Tucker. Also staring is the most underrated big man in the country, Brad Buckman, and underappreciated and highly criticized shooting guard Kenton Paulino. Our bench started the season looking promising but has failed to impress. Swingman Dion Dowell elected to transfer to Houston a few weeks ago. Transfers JD Lewis and Craig Winder have had a difficult time adjusting to Division 1 college basketball. Coach Barnes has shown no faith in either of them in big games and I can't blame him. Mike Williams, while improved, has been slowed by injuries and his inability to run the floor or score with his back to the basket. Conner Atchley has seen more minutes with injuries to other forwards. Atchley has a nice outside set shot but isn't physical or strong enough to make a significant contribution near the basket. The only bright spot has been freshman point guard AJ Abrams. AJ has the quickness and ball handling skills to be a great point guard. He is learning to distribute more effectively after being a scoring point guard in high school. His defense has improved dramatically as the season has progressed pleasing Barnes and leading to more playing time. I still think AJ should be the staring point guard.
Whether it is your first look at the Horns or not, check them out on Saturday at the Drum. Texas takes on a 10-1 Colorado team at 3 PM. CU has played cupcake city this season so far. The Buffs have beaten Mercer, Cal-POLY, and Savannah State among others. The Buffaloes are led by sophomore Richard Roby (16 ppg, 6 rpg) and a host of upperclassmen. Five seniors and two juniors play double digit minutes. I haven't seen CU play this season so it's hard to write an accurate preview. However, the Horns are 7-0 in Big 12 openers under Coach Barnes while CU has lost eight straight conference openers. UT is also coming off its biggest win of the season at #4 Memphis on Tuesday.
If seeing the Horns isn't exciting enough for you, I will be shooting the half court shot during a timeout with the chance to win two plane tickets. I am not predicting that I make the half court heave, but I will predict a UT victory. UT 70, CU 58.